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Domestic Weekly Update October 26, 2010

What do our candidates have to say about food stamp participation doubling in the past 10 years? Do they support extending recent improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit for working families? How would they strengthen Head Start and child care assistance? Perhaps the candidates do have specific answers to these questions. The problem is that we need a map, a pick axe and night-vision goggles to find them.

Des Moines Register letter to the editor by RESULTS Des Moines volunteer Jos Linn, October 26, 2010

New and Urgent in This Week’s Update

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Fall Fundraising Update: Draft and Mail Those Friends and Family Letters This Week

Our Fall Fundraising Campaign continues to progress successfully. To those of you holding events or sending donation requests to friends and family, we thank you. Your efforts are greatly appreciated and will help us secure the resources needed to continue this important work.

If you are doing a Friends and Family campaign, then let the letter writing begin! This is the week your letters should go out. Remember, speak from the heart about why you support RESULTS in your letters. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you draft a powerful letter:

  • What kind of difference has RESULTS has made for you personally?
  • How do you view yourself as a citizen differently now?
  • What have you or your group accomplished with the support of RESULTS?
  • What do you personally value about how RESULTS operates?
  • Why do think RESULTS is needed in the world and what RESULTS successes are you proud of? (For a list of our successes, go to “Our Results” in the “About” section on the website)

We also have sample letters and quotes to help inspire you.

Before finalizing your letter, include a sentence asking your friends and family to complete the information on the donor envelopes and to mail their gift with the donor envelope back to you in the self-addressed envelope (see below). This ensures that the RESULTS office has accurate information about donors and let’s you track your group’s progress before sending the donation to RESULTS. For example, you can add this paragraph to your letter: “Please fill out the preprinted donor envelope, put it and your donation in the second envelope that is addressed to me, and mail it back to me. I will note your donation in our team’s progress and forward it to the RESULTS’ office.

Finally, before mailing out your letters, be sure to do the following:

  • On the “For office use” line on the inside of the RESULTS donor envelope, please circle “Friends and Family” and include your name and your group. This is so the RESULTS office knows which group generated the donation.
  • Please include the pre-printed RESULTS donor envelope, the RESULTS brochure, the monthly sponsor brochure, and a self-addressed envelope in your mailing to your donor prospects.
  • If your friends give online, remind them to put Friends and Family, your group name, and your name in the comments box.

If you have questions or need more information, please contact Donna Howard at (202) 783-4800, x.124 or dhoward@results.org. Also, use the materials on our RESULTS Fundraising page, including sample letters, the follow-up phone script, and thank you notes to help with your work. We will talk about follow up on your letters next week.

Thank you so much supporting RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund during our annual Fall Fundraising Campaign. Your work in garnering these resources is critical to our organization!

Upcoming Fundraising Events:

November 7: RESULTS Columbus, OH fundraiser

November 20: RESULTS San Jose, CA fundraiser

November 30: RESULTS Minnesota fundraiser

December 5: RESULTS Chicago, IL fundraiser

December 9: RESULTS Washington, DC fundraiser


Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Fighting for What’s Right (October Action)

Let’s finish out the month of October with a strong push supporting child nutrition programs. Next month, we will switch our monthly action focus back to taxes, so we want to make the best use of this time now to ensure hungry kids get the food they need to grow and thrive.

We want the strongest possible child nutrition reauthorization bill (CNR). This means that Congress should work to improve upon what the Senate passed back in August, the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 (S.3307). While S.3307 does make some much needed policy changes that will improve expand access, streamline participation, and improve nutrition, it needs to be stronger. First, S.3307 allocates only $4.5 billion over ten years in new funding for child nutrition reauthorization (CNR). This is about half of what the House’s Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act of 2010 (H.R. 5504) provides; H.R.5504 allocates $8 billion over ten years.

Furthermore, half of this new money in the Senate bill is paid for by cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program). We can do better than this.

RESULTS supports the House passing its own bill because it puts more resources into these important programs and does so without cutting other anti-poverty programs to pay for it. And let’s not forget just how small a share of the federal budget we are talking about. Just for comparison, let’s see how long it would take $8 billion over ten years in new CNR funding to match one year of funding for other areas of the budget (Note: $8 billion/ten years = $800 million/year):

  • It would take over 21 years for CNR funding to match the amount spent on agricultural subsidies in 2009 ($17.3 billion)
  • It would take over 92 years for CNR funding to match the cost of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent in 2009 ($74 billion)
  • It would take over 641 years for CNR funding to match the amount the U.S. spent on defense in 2009 ($513 billion, not including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan)

Now, it may be that a compromise can be reached on funding levels for CNR and the SNAP cuts. RESULTS will certainly keep you up-to-date on any developments. But when politicians say they cannot find the money or that the lower funding amount is the best we can do, remember that it has little to do with resources and everything to do with priorities. It’s not that they can’t find the money — it’s that they won’t find it. And until an acceptable compromise is reached, it is our job to push them to make feeding hungry kids a priority.

TAKE ACTION: Take the October Action. Write letters to your representatives and senators urging them to pass the strongest child nutrition bill without cutting SNAP (see this new report from the Congressional Research Service on the effect of the cuts on SNAP benefits). Also, use public appearances and meetings during the recess to put this issue in front of legislators, using the Congress Should Pass a Strong Child Nutrition Bill laser talk reviewed on the October 9 conference call. If you cannot call, be sure to send an e-mail to your members of Congress.

We also have some additional resources you can use to build support for a strong child nutrition reauthorization:


New Report Bolsters the Importance of Preserving the 2009 EITC and CTC Improvements

A new report from our friends at Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) sheds new data on the impact of tax cuts made in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Based on IRS data, CTJ estimates that 12 million people, mostly low-income, received an average tax cuts of $872 from the improvements made to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). CTJ also provides fact sheets on the impact of the EITC and CTC changes for every state, which will be very helpful when following up with members of Congress and their aides about these provisions. For example, low-income families in Mississippi have seen an average of $267 in benefits from the EITC and CTC changes under ARRA. For families living paycheck to paycheck, these benefits can mean the difference between paying the light bill or losing power, paying rent or being evicted, buying groceries or going hungry.

Fortunately, the media is starting to take notice of these issues. Last week, the New York Times highlighted the expiring tax provisions from ARRA that affect working families, including improvements to the EITC and CTC. It rightly points out that as Congress gets set to extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, they must also extend recent improvements to tax provisions that help working families.

If we want to ensure that Congress puts working families and the middle class first, we need to remind them before and after November 2 that Americans want a tax policy that is fair and equitable for everyone.

TAKE ACTION: Let’s use this time to make sure Congress does the right thing. Follow up with House and Senate tax aides to find out if their bosses have spoken with House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committee leaders about making the 2009 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) improvements permanent as part of the middle class tax bill. Do your best to get a commitment from them to make sure they support these provisions with their advocacy to leadership and their vote on the legislation. Set up a conference call meeting between the tax aides from their offices and your local RESULT group to discuss it, per the September Action. Be sure to use this online chart of the number of children who will be impacted in your state and recent poverty data from the U.S. Census to highlight the need for these provisions to be included in the middle class tax bill. You can find the names of aides on our Elected Officials page.

Once you have a meeting scheduled, please contact the RESULTS Domestic staff for help in preparing (see contact information below). After you’ve had a meeting or conversation, please use our online lobby report form to let us know what happened.


Use Public Appearances to Push Action on Poverty

In this election season, candidates and members of Congress are making the rounds in the districts and states through public meetings, town halls, and other events. Don’t hesitate to use these opportunities to talk with legislators about tax policy and child nutrition. For example, RESULTS Columbus activists attended an event several weeks ago where Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was speaking. The RESULTS volunteers used this opportunity to thank him for his tireless work for people living in poverty and urged him to speak with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) about preserving the ARRA improvements to the EITC and CTC. RESULTS Des Moines volunteers did the same thing with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) last Friday at an event in Iowa. These encounters may only be a few minutes long, but they can have tremendous impact. Be sure to see our Activist Milestones, particularly our milestone on asking a question at a public event, to see how you can engage your members of Congress during this crucial period.


Quick News

New Report Shows How Few People Pay the Estate Tax. Last week, Citizens for Tax Justice published a new report on the federal estate tax. As you know, the estate tax is a tax on inherited wealth that before this year only applied to couples owing than $7 million in assets. However, opponents of the estate tax have done a masterful job in convincing a majority Americans (around 70 percent) that they will have to pay the tax. The new CTJ report once again shows the absurdity of that belief. Using IRS data, CTJ shows that 0.6 percent of all deaths in the U.S. in 2008 resulted in estate tax liability. In other words, 99.4 percent of all estates in 2008 owed NO estate tax. The report also includes the truth about many estate tax myths, as well as data on the number estates owing the tax in each state. Tell Congress to get its priorities straight by sending an e-mail in support of a responsible estate tax.

New York Times Op-ed Highlights Income Inequality. An October 16 New York Times op-ed from economist Robert Frank points out the economic impact income inequality has on society. Frank writes “We need not reach agreement on all philosophical principles of fairness to recognize that [income inequality] has imposed considerable harm across the income scale without generating significant offsetting benefits. No one dares to argue that rising inequality is required in the name of fairness. So maybe we should just agree that it’s a bad thing — and try to do something about it.”


Announcements

Find All Your Fundraising Resources at the RESULTS website. Just remember, as you reach out to friends and family or hold an event this fall to ask for financial support for RESULTS’ work, all the resources you need to help you can be found on the Fundraising page of the RESULTS website.

Join Upcoming Training Calls with RESULTS Staff. To better equip you in your advocacy work with RESULTS, we periodically offer training calls in various areas for volunteers. Here are the upcoming training calls we have scheduled this fall:

  • New Activist Orientation. For people new to RESULTS, this training call series is a great opportunity to learn more about RESULTS and build up your advocacy skills. The remaining calls will be October 27 and November 3 at 9:00 pm ET. The call-in number is (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. Contact Lisa Marchal (lmarchal@results.org) or Ken Patterson (kpatterson@results.org) for more information.
  • Researching Your Member of Congress. Have a new representative or senator? Don’t yet know enough about the positions of a continuing legislator? Join Allison Gallaher for this popular training to learn how to effectively research your own members of Congress for more effective advocacy. The call is November 18 at 9:00 pm ET. The call-in number is (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.

Upcoming Events

(Click to see a complete calendar)

October 27: New Activist Orientation Training Series Call, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.

November 3: New Activist Orientation Training Series Call, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.

November 13: RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. (888) 409-6709.

November 15: Target date for congressional post-election session (“lame duck” session) to begin.

November 18: Researching Your Member of Congress. 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.

November 25–26: RESULTS offices closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

June 18–21, 2011: RESULTS International Conference at the Four Points Sheraton in Washington, DC (Note: start date subject to change).


RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 783-2818, 750 First Street NE, Suite 1040, Washington DC 20002. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil.

Domestic Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff: Meredith Dodson, (202) 783-7100 x116 (dodson@results.org); Jos Linn, (515) 288-3622 (jlinn@results.org), Ann Beltran (abeltran@results.org), and Ann Racuya-Robbins (aracuyarobbins@results.org).

The RESULTS Domestic Update is sent out every Tuesday over e-mail to RESULTS volunteers and allies all over the country. The purpose of these updates is to inform and activate RESULTS activists to take action on our domestic campaigns.